New checkpoints set up in the run up to Maaveerar Naal

The Sri Lankan military have set up new checkpoints on the A9 and A32 highways in the lead up to Maaveerar Naal, the Tamil national remembrance day for fallen Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) cadres. The road block style checkpoints come as a series of court bans have been imposed over the last week, ordering Tamil activists and politicians not to hold or participate in Maaveerar Naal remembrance events. Every year in the lead up to and on Maaveerar Naal the state's security forces escalate their presence across the North-East to block any commemoration events from taking place...

Crooks and war criminals - FIFA President meets with the Rajapaksas

Following the launch of the first FIFA approved tournament in Sri Lanka last week, the President of FIFA, Gianni Infantino, met with the Rajapaksa clan despite ongoing grave human rights concerns. At the meeting, he met with war crimes accused President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, and Minister for Sports Namal Rajapaksa. The meeting further comes as Sri Lanka considers launching a bid to host the 2026 Commonwealth Games, following a previous failed attempt under Rajapaksa in 2011 and ongoing controversy over the island’s human rights record. Infantino, who was...

South-East London community devastated by death of Tamil family in fire

The South-East London Community of Bexleyheath has been devastated by the tragic deaths of a Tamil family of four in a house fire. Yogan Thangavadivel, the father, rushed home after receiving a phone call from his wife, Niruba, in which she screamed "fire, fire". He arrived too late and witnessed the fire crew working to retrieve the bodies of his relatives. He was seen crying and collapsing on the ground outside of his home.

Sri Lankan police use PTA to petition Maaveerar Naal ban in Jaffna

The Jaffna Magistrate's accepted an application filed by Sri Lankan police seeking a ban on Maaveerar Naal events in Jaffna. The Sri Lankan Police submitted that under the Criminal Code and the widely condemned, Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA) it is a crime to commemorate fallen LTTE fighters.

Tamil youth seriously injured in accident at army checkpoint in Mullaitivu

A Tamil youth was rushed to Puthukkudiyiruppu hospital in critical condition after his motorcycle collided with another vehicle at an army checkpoint on Mullaitivu Red Junction. The roadblock-style checkpoints, on several roads in Mullaitivu were set up by the Sri Lankan army, to reportedly enforce coronavirus related lockdowns but have persisted for months afterwards without any explanation. Locals have long complained of the inconvenience and danger caused by the checkpoints on busy intersections. Whilst the armed and masked soldiers constantly intimidate and harass Tamil commuters. The...

Maaveerar Naal crackdown: Sri Lankan police seek blanket ban on religious services in Mannar

Sri Lankan police today applied to the Mannar Court seeking a ban on worship services at the St Sebastian Cathedral as well as other temples and churches between the 20th and 27th November, citing the possibility that fallen LTTE cadres could be commemorated during the services.

Tamil refugee Priya Murugappan named one of Marie Claire’s Women of the Year

Priya Murugappan, a Tamil refugee who continues to be held in Australia detention, has been named as one of Marie Claire‘s Women of the Year, as campaigners continue to demand that her family be allowed to settle in the country. The announcement, made earlier this week, saw Priya honoured alongside eight other women and the activists of Biloela for having “fought with passion, led with bravery and inspired with their triumphs”. “Priya Murugappan’s memories are awash with pain and persecution: of her first fiancée being burnt alive before her eyes in Sri Lanka; of being manhandled by Australian guards who ripped a tendon in her arm while forcing her onto a plane seeking to deport her; and of her youngest child nearly dying when she didn’t receive proper medical care in detention,” said Marie Claire.

Buddhism, politics and the military in Sri Lanka – ‘Gigantic’ stupa built to honour Sri Lankan troops

A grand ceremony was held in Sri Lanka this week, as dozens of political leaders from across the south accompanied Sinhala Buddhist monks and military generals at the unveiling of a newly constructed Buddhist stupa built to honour Sri Lankan troops. Sri Lanka’s president Gotabaya Rajapaksa and his elder brother, prime minister Mahinda Rajapaksa, were both chief guests at the ceremony, which was attended by senior Buddhist clergy members, the leader of Sri Lanka’s opposition, parliamentarians, military officials and ambassadors, according to the Presidential Media Division. The newly...

Sri Lankan court bans 47 Tamil activists and politicians from commemorating Maveerar Naal

Mullaitivu Magistrate Court has banned 47 activists and politicians from across Tamil parties from participating in Maaveerar Naal events, following a request from the Sri Lankan security forces. Judge R Saravanarajah issued an injunction against several politicians, activists, civil society members in Mullaitivu to disrupt commemorations ahead of 'Maaveerar Vaaram', the week of remembrance preceding Maaveerar Naal. The court accepted the case after Sri Lankan police in Mullaitivu, Puthukkudiyiruppu, Mulliyawalai, Oddusuddan, Mankulam, Mallavi and Jayankankulam filed cases in their district...

US State Department holds talks with Tamils in Washington

The Tamil National Alliance and members of the Global Tamil Forum met with the US State Department in Washington last week, as they discussed “political representation [and] reconciliation as part of a wholistic transitional justice agenda”. The Office of Global Criminal Justice at the US State Department tweeted after the meeting that “listening to perspectives & concerns of minority groups in Sri Lanka is essential to promoting reconciliation”. Talks were also held with the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor who afterwards said that “advancing the protection and political...